Nov 09

Music, Mahogany & Jack Daniels

Jack Daniel’s have walked hand-in-hand with music since Mr. Daniel’s himself started the Silver Cornet Band in his hometown of Lynchburg in an effort to draw bigger crowds to his saloons to try his famous sour mash whiskey.

Over 80 years later, the musical relationship is stronger than ever and we were lucky enough to be invited to Tennessee last month to see it first hand for their annual birthday celebrations which included some very special live performances from a truly steller lineup.

The crew

We didn’t head to the States on our own – the cream of the crop of UK magazines, blogs and radio were there including The Line of Best Fit, Rockfeedback, BBC, Drowned in Sound, Clash Music, The Mac Twins, Nailer9 and the Daily Record were also there to name a few and we’re all pictured below. And let’s not forget Goose (pictured centre) who you may have seen on JD’s marketing campaign in the UK. He’s headed up the tours for over 30 years now and is a truly unforgettable character!

The Distillery

The party couldn’t start until understanding exactly how the golden sauce is made and before the theory, came the practical - TASTING!

Master tastesman Jeff walked (or sipped) us through all three production bottles made on site (Old Number 7, Single Barrel and my personal favourite, Gentleman Jack) but most excitingly was their first new product in over a decade, Tennessee Honey. It’s a new liquer blended with, you guessed it, honey and makes for a much softer, sweeter and more subtle taste. It’s not coming over to the UK until 2012 but perhaps our US readers have tried it before.

After the day of educational tasting and history – it was time to get some sleep before the big party on BBQ hill.

The Party

Every year incredible names in music descend on the iconic BBQ hill, just a short walk up from the distillery to play to an exclusive crowd. Since 2007, acts like Patti Smith, Roisin Murphy, Jon McClure, Juliette Lewis, Richard Hawley, Ellie Goulding and Jarvis Cocker have played and this years lineup may well have been the strongest ever!

Steve Cropper and the New Silver Cornet band

Nearly 80 years after the original set-up, the magic has been re-created and comprises of living legends Steve Cropper (Booker T And The MGs), David Hood and more. Without needing much of an introduction, Cropper penned the Otis Redding classic ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’ and that’s only the start. The band sat down for long rehearsals with every act on the bill to make sure the classic sound on their modern hits were flawless.

K. Flay

Now K. Flay was new to us until the party and the rapper/producer/singer stole the show as she opened the party. Blending her electronic break-beat sounds, witty lytics and the instrumental funk backing was truly unique and the grin on her face was huge!

Real name Kristine Flaherty is on the new so keep an eye out for her as she takes her one-woman show on the road including some new dates this month in the States and her information can be found here.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13622830"]

Warpaint

Emily and Theresa from Warpaint were on next and having been wanting to see the gorgeous girls play live since first hearing them, it was the perfect setting and among ‘Elephants’ and ‘Undertow’ as well as a couple of great covers.

Plan B

Headlining was Ben Drew aka Plan B who managed to squeeze in just one show before shooting his new movie The Sweeney alongside the infamous and brilliant Ray Winstone.

He stole the show with some unbelievable tracks and the Steve Cropped provided unparalleled sound on guitar whilst the rest of the band were as tight as a dolphin’s blowhole and despite some early sound problems which meant him having to steal one of the backing vocalists microphones – he was a roaring success.

Wrap Up

Whilst hundreds of brands try to merge with music, Jack Daniel’s are one of the few who remain not only fully committed on a long-term basis but also aware of the music they actually like. An artist like Katy Perry is never going to get an invite to Tennessee or a JD set because it’s simply wrong and that’s where other companies go wrong, they try and get the biggest artist on the planet to provide a lifeless plug to a unaligned product or service.

The party was incredible and the hangover on the journey home was completely worth it. The acts were astounding and I’m looking forward to the next round of JD sets in the UK in 2012.

Without any more words, watch a montage which sums up the weekend beautifully.

Your friends at Jack Daniels remind you to drink responsibly.

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